Joburg Pick n Pay store installs 100-kW solar PV system

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PV modules at the Pick n Pay installation in Johannesburg
South African retailer Pick n Pay has commissioned a 100-kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system at the new Pick n Pay on Nicol shopping centre, in Johannesburg.
The installation was completed on October 19, which was 47 working days after the contract was awarded to Romano, a sustainable engineering contractor focusing on solar energy, signage, modular construction and light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting.
The scope of the contract included the design, procurement, manufacture, assembly, installation and commissioning of the system.
The system comprises 456 polycrystalline PV modules which, during peak sunshine, generate about 100 kW of DC power. With six power-conditioning inverters, the DC power is then converted to AC power, providing about 25% of the electricity needed by Pick n Pay’s supermarket at the shopping centre.
Romano CEO Alexi Romano says he is inspired by the initiatives taken by companies such as Pick n Pay to minimise their environmental impact, by reducing their level of carbon emissions.
“Thanks to Pick n Pay’s investment in this particular 100 kW PV system, 4 000 fewer tons of carbon will be emitted into the atmosphere over the next 20 or so years,” Romano adds.
The company emphasises that investing in renewable energy also brings financial returns, owing to the saving of the cost of electricity provided by conventional means of supply.
It is expected that the system will pay for itself in between seven to ten years, which depends on the rate at which conventional electricity prices increase.
PV investments may also create the opportunity for the owner to create and sell carbon credits.
Solar PV also requires very little, or no maintenance, and gives the owner electricity independence in the event of power outages.
Romano states that South Africa’s climate is ideal for solar energy generation. “Most areas in South Africa enjoy more than 2 500 hours of sunshine a year. This compares to about 1 700 hours for the US, and about 1 100 hours for Europe and the UK. This means that South Africa’s solar resource is one of the best in the world.”

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